Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 26 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #195)
A series of homilies on Ephesians.
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 3:14-19:
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
D. M. McIntyre said, “Before the great revival in Austria broke out, Martin Boos spent hours and days and often nights in lonely agonies of intercession. Afterwards, when he preached, his words were as flame, and the hearts of the people as grass.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “I wish, in America, that we were as concerned about the separation of church and sin as we are about the separation of church and state. Church and sin — it’s a monstrous problem.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The First Great Awakening lasted about fifty years worldwide (though only ten years in the American colonies) and had a profound impact on both the church and society. Within twenty-five years of the beginning of this revival in Hernhutt, the Moravians had sent out more than a hundred missionaries. Their example inspired William Carey to challenge British Baptists to consider sending missionaries to the unreached peoples of Asia. While later revivals recruited candidates for missions, the First Great Awakening restored the concept of missions to the evangelical churches.”
Today, we are going to continue looking at Paul’s third request for the Ephesian believers (and for all believers today). This third request is, “That ye… may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…” As we saw yesterday, this love of Christ can only begin to be fully known in community with other believers — when we see it in our lives and in the lives of others as well as when we show it toward others in the body of Christ.
When we do this, we have begun to comprehend Jesus’ love — “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of it. The text provides no context to determine what Paul means by these measurements, except to say that He means to impress upon us that the love of Christ is immeasurable. As the Bible Knowledge Commentary states, “it is too large to be confined by any geometrical measurements. It is wide enough to reach the whole world and beyond. It is long enough to stretch from eternity to eternity. It is high enough to raise both Gentiles and Jews to heavenly places in Christ Jesus. It is deep enough to rescue people from sin’s degradation and even from the grip of Satan himself.”
The reason why we still hope and pray for a revival and an awakening in our families, our churches, and our country is because, although it seems like all hope is lost, the love of Christ knows no bounds. Despite our sins, faults, and failures, and the moral decay in our nation, Jesus still loves us. He died for every one of us. He wants to save each of us. That is how great His love is. It is not based on anything we have said or done. We don’t deserve His love. But He extends it to us anyway.
As Fanny Crosby wrote —
O the height and depth of mercy!
O the length and breadth of love!
O the fullness of redemption—
Pledge of endless life above!